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Parliament OKs JCS chief nominee

2013/10/14 16:20

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- The parliamentary defense committee on Monday approved President Park Geun-hye's nominee for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC), saying the candidate demonstrated his ability to command all three branches of the military.

Adm. Choi Yun-hee was named to head the JCS in a high-level military reshuffle last month, marking the first time that a Navy chief has been appointed to the post. He underwent a confirmation hearing at the National Assembly last Friday as his appointment is subject to parliamentary approval.

"There were concerns about the nominee's lack of experience in the field of operations and on the JCS, but he is qualified to command the Army, Navy and Air Force because of his 35 years of experience as a commander," the committee said in a report on Choi's confirmation hearing.

The report, adopted unanimously by the committee, also said Choi expressed his conviction that only a strong military can deter war.

On the scheduled transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean troops from Washington to Seoul in December 2015, Choi said the two governments reached the agreement based on a joint assessment of North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, and South Korea's defense capabilities.

"On this, (the committee) gave a generally positive assessment," the report said.

The issue of the OPCON transfer recently sparked controversy following revelations that Seoul had asked Washington to postpone the schedule due to North Korea's growing nuclear threats.

hague@yna.co.kr

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